- It is DARK at night. VERY VERY dark. No street lights, car lights, building lights, neighbor lights. Dark.
- The house creaks in the wind, or not in the wind. It seems to be breathing, wheezing, shifting as it sleeps or as I don’t sleep because someone beside me keeps asking what all the noises are.
- The ice maker is loud when I’m not used to one. Sometimes it sounds like wheezing ghost breath, creaky boards under ghost feet or footsteps in the basement clutter.
- My dog barks in her sleep. Not like she’s chasing a rat. More like she is completely neurotic and is always warning off attacks by bears. Growling, snarling, and eventually waking up the other dog who is too old to get up and down the stairs by himself. I am just enabling the 2 a.m. chaos by carrying him down and letting him outside to wander up and down the driveway sniffing for threats with a nose that’s probably too old to smell anything.
- It’s so dark outside that all the windows reflect what’s inside, like I’m trapped inside my own video cube. At night as I carry old dogs around I can see six views of myself simultaneously. What if one of them smiles or winks when the others don’t. I feel spied on by my own image.
- And while the house is noisy all on its own, it’s also immensely QUIET. No ghetto baby screams, no autistic neighbor jumping into shared walls. No men yelling “Whore” in the parking lot. No cars squealing out at 3 a.m. or people laughing and shouting on the lawn in the hours before dawn.
Have I become a city dweller? I was once quite comfortable out in the middle of nowhere. Now I can’t sleep even after I lock all the doors that my father never locks and pull my blanket over my head. It feels too much like camping, except that they have a dishwasher and ice in the refrigerator door.
Maybe if I didn’t have to keep saying “Shut up, Zoe” every few minutes to my dog who I’ve trapped in my room with me so that she doesn’t bother anyone else.
I realize that “whom” would be the correct word in that sentence, but it feels almost smartassy to even bother with that word anymore, in this current land of Lols and TTYLs.